There's no terror quite like the one surrounding getting your beauty products confiscated at the airport. You watch the officer root around your toiletry bag, picking up bottles with pinched fingers, squinting at labels, and weighing the little zip lock baggies as you stand their quietly, ready to scream like a mother being separated from her child if he tries to throw something out. You stand there with your hands clasped in prayer in front of your mouth, hoping no one notices your hairspray is a couple of milliliters too big. As things start to look bleak, you begin to brainstorm what you could leave behind. God, what an impossible decision.
Maybe your moisturizer? No, that's just madness. Definitely not your concealer, even if it will melt off 10 minutes into walking around the summer heat. For the love of god, never the hairspray. How will you fight your bangs into submission if you don't have that handy? You watch the security agent weigh it in his hands and it takes your everything not to launch yourself at him. Steady now, you don't want to blow it.
Being separated from your beauty products is hard, but going somewhere new without your arsenal is even harder. Below are the seven emotional stages of having your beauty products confiscated at the airport.
1. Knowing You're Doing Something Wrong
You're well aware of the rules of the airport and how everything has to be nicely bundled into plastic baggies. You're also well aware that your hairspray is way over the feasible limit. You're going somewhere hot and frizzy, though, and there is just no way your locks won't blow up to Aunt Fridamina's perm proportions if you don't have your industrial strength spray. Feeling like you're a covert agent ready to slip past security, you try not to audibly gulp as you get waved forward.
2. Trying Not To Look Suspicious
You were never great at lying and you already feel the stress hives break out around your neck. Trying not to look like the shifty weasel that you are, you stare up at the ceiling, then at your feet, then at the McDonald's sign straight ahead. This makes you look guilty as hell and you feel the officer lock eyes on you. Oh, no.
3. Feeling Helpless
Your bag gets pulled off the conveyor belt (you try not to notice the exertion it took to lift it) and you wring your hands as you watch them unpack it, completely messing up its ecosystem. Brushes and eyebrow pencils are everywhere, and you need to channel all your inner strength so as not to smack the officer's hands away from your stuff. You know something bad is about to go down as he begins to set certain bottles aside and you start scanning the area wildly for escape routes. You might be forced to do something rash.
4. Starting To Cancel The Trip In Your Head
If you can't take all of that — that whole little suitcase — then you're simply not going on your trip. Who needs adventure and beach time anyway? You could just drink cocktails in your backyard in a kiddie pool and it'll be the same exact thing. It's settled.
5. Being Forced To Make An Impossible Decision
You have too much. The decision comes down like a hammer and you feel your vision fog over at the edges. Trying to keep yourself steady, you inch forward and peer at your babies. Who will have to be left behind? The life-giving lotion that has been discontinued? The hair products that'll stop you from morphing into a Grimm brother monster? The under eye cream that makes you look human in the morning? Or maybe... maybe you can just plow your way past this guy and into the terminal? You crouch into a footballer stance and the officer raises a weirded-out eyebrow. On second thought...
6. Pleading For Mercy
You look at the agent and put on your most soulful eyes as you try to explain that you're not a crazy radical who will somehow create a weapon from the nozzle of her hairspray and the natural ingredients in her face mask. You're just a salt of the earth kind of gal who happens to need 19 different products to keep her life together. When all he does is give you a blank stare back, you shift gears and plead with the other officer behind him. "I'm going somewhere humid," you beg, getting a little wild eyed. "Do you hear me: Humid!"
They have sympathy, but won't budge.
7. Flying Away With A Broken Soul
You watch them throw a small quarter of your products away, and with that, your heart. You pack your bag slowly, feeling numb. As you push your suitcase out of security, you deal with the heavy feeling that you'll never be the same.
Never, ever again. Or at least, not until you find the nearest drugstore at your destination.